The Northeast’s fracking boom has left drillers with millions and millions of barrels of wastewater and nowhere to dump it. Some frackers have simply injected into deep wells, causing earthquakes; others have simply allowed their waste to flow into rivers.
Big government to the rescue: The Department of Energy will fund a $1.8 million, two-year project by Battelle that aims to find somewhere to stash that gross dross for an eternity. From the Columbus Dispatch:
With more drilling and fracking expected, oil and gas companies will need to find the best locations to safely inject more waste, said Neeraj Gupta, senior research leader for Battelle’s subsurface-resources group.
“That’s one of our objectives. Where is the injection capacity?” Gupta said.
Right now, it’s in Ohio, where more than 14.2 million barrels of fracking fluids and related waste from oil and gas wells were pumped into 190 disposal wells last year. That was a 12 percent increase over 2011.
Much of the waste — 8.16 million barrels last year — came from Pennsylvania, which has seven active disposal wells. West Virginia has 63 disposal wells.
If only we could find a source of energy that doesn’t consume fresh water and produce wastewater, maybe some mysterious source that protected the climate as well. If only such a thing existed …